Can Antibiotics Improve Autism Symptoms?

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Antibiotics improved one child’s autism symptoms, prompting his father to explore the link between gut bacteria and autism, according to an article published in Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease.

The child was prescribed a 10-day course of amoxicillin to treat his strep throat. After just 4 days on the antibiotic, his father noticed significant changes in his son’s autism symptoms.

"[He] began making eye contact, which he had previously avoided; his speech, which was severely delayed, began to improve markedly; he became less 'rigid' in his insistence for sameness and routine; and he also displayed an uncharacteristic level of energy, which he had historically lacked," the father, John Rodakis said.

As Rodakis researched this link, he met Richard Frye, MD, PhD, head of the Autism Research Program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute. The pair collaborated with other researchers to hold the First International Symposium on the Microbiome in Health and Disease with a Special Focus on Autism.

At the conference, one of the studies presented found that children with autism had less diversity in their gut bacteria compared with typically-developing children.

As the evidence for the gut-brain connection in autism continues to grow, Rodakis hopes that studying antibiotic-responding children can provide insight into the biology of autism.

Can Antibiotics Improve Autism Symptoms?
Can Antibiotics Improve Autism Symptoms?

A parent has been prompted to investigate the connections between gut bacteria and autism following surprising improvements in his son's autism while taking an antibiotic for strep throat.

John Rodakis' son was prescribed a 10-day course of amoxicillin, one of the most frequently used antibiotics in the US, and within just 4 days of commencing the treatment, changes were observed in his autism symptoms.

"[He] began making eye contact, which he had previously avoided; his speech, which was severely delayed, began to improve markedly; he became less 'rigid' in his insistence for sameness and routine; and he also displayed an uncharacteristic level of energy, which he had historically lacked," explains Rodakis.

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